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Alton Illinois Politics and Issues
Right Turn - Left Turn Weekly Topic

Election 2010

Right and left views on the 2010 Illinois electoral candidates.


Right Turn

righty

On November 2, 2010 Illinois voters have a real choice in the gubernatorial election as well as in the election for the U.S. Senate seat formerly used as a stepping-stone by the current unfortunate (for Americans) occupant of the Oval Office. Of course, the "real" choice for Senate might not be that clear given the stranglehold the two major parties have on the money, media, and process.

State Senator Bill Brady presents Illinois voters reason to be hopeful. After years of "leadership" from the likes Rod "The Hair" Blagojevich and his right hand man, Pat Quinn, not to mention Republican cell occupant George Ryan, a conservative could go to Springfield and begin to undo the damage. We cannot underestimate the continuing negative impact the Madigan-led General Assembly and Democrat Senate will have on our state. That said, Governor Brady can use the veto to curtail further damage. He can also join with the other reasonable state governors in their efforts dismantle the framework and defend their constituents against the intrusiveness of Obamacare. Pat Quinn would play along with the massive federal plan and hope to benefit from federal funds to “save� the state money on health care. This is an example of the idiocy or sleaziness of a Dem politician like Quinn. The state cannot give money it does not first take from the productive (current or yet to be born) and neither can the federal government! Federal funds are still funds taken from current and future taxpayers to buy votes and grow the dependant base upon which the bloated tick of government depends for its own preservation and continued growth.

As for United States Senator, Mike Labno is the candidate for whom the principled conservative can vote without violating his conscience. If you find yourself opposed to the stabbing in the head of a nearly born baby and having his skull collapsed as a matter of "choice," perhaps Mike Labno is the candidate for you. If you find the federal government to be a bloated mess, both in wasteful spending of money that does not exist and intruding into local affairs at an ever increasing rate, you might want to consider a vote for Labno. Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias differ in party name and not much else. Sure, Mark Kirk will sometimes vote with his party on some tax bills and military matters. He is not an automatic rubber stamp for the Obama agenda like Giannoulias would be, but at some point things need to change. Cap and Trade would be devastating and Mark Kirk voted for it. He says he wouldn’t now, but doesn’t that seem like a typical politician? Does it sound like a dishonest politician to claim to have been “1999 Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year� when in fact he was not? This wasn’t a one-time mistake and it speaks to the character of the self-promoting and dishonest candidate. Kirk also voted against banning partial-birth abortion, making him almost as radical as Obama himself on the issue of innocent life.

Sam Pierce
Sam is a conservative father of 6 who would like to leave my children the free country our founding fathers established! Individual liberty requires individual responsibility!

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Left Turn

lefty

It is that time of year when Illinois voters have to deal with scary goblins, demons, monsters, and witches. No, not Halloween, its election time. So for Illinois residents, it would appear that Halloween comes on November 2nd this year. And the race for President Obama's former Senate seat is actually uglier than the race for governor. So Illinois voters, do you want to put your hand in boiling water, or take a sharp stick in the eye?

Governor Pat Quinn assumed office on January 29, 2009. Since that time, he has been blamed, largely unfairly for Illinois' fiscal crisis and budget problems. These problems are largely a function of the precipitous collapse in the economy prior to Quinn assuming office, and these criticisms are largely unfounded. The race for Governor pits an experienced politician (no, this is not intended as an indictment), versus the relatively inexperienced Brady. Finding clear statements on Bill Brady's views was more difficult than finding Waldo—even Bill Brady's own website, in its issues section offers platitudes and generalities, but no specifics, such as reducing government spending, promoting a pro-business climate. The only thing that was missing was his unwavering support for God, Country, apple pie, motherhood, and puppies. Cf. Infra.

Brady is against abortion rights; civil unions and gay marriage; and discrimination protection for homosexuals in housing and employment. He has proposed outlawing insurance payments for contraception, and as a state senator, sponsored a bill to overturn the ban against mass euthanasia for pets (he has since stated that he would no longer support such a position). He would reduce funding for schools, which would most likely increase property taxes. Brady claims he will cut taxes by reducing spending, but such an approach, in light of the billions of debt the State is currently in, is unlikely and if implemented, irresponsible. By most measures, he is socially very conservative. In my humble opinion, the combination of Brady's lack of specific proposals and his position on social issues renders him a dangerous candidate and unworthy of support. Further, he wants to lower the minimum wage. It took a decade to raise the minimum wage, and in an era where real wages have declined, I see no reason to add to the problem. I am not thrilled with Quinn, but at least he supports civil unions (but not gay marriage), and has offered specific proposals on ethics reforms, lobbying restrictions, and has the courage to put his foot down when it comes to cutting money from education. He has also shown strong support for families of fallen soldiers. He is in favor of maintaining the improved minimum wage of $8.25 per hour in Illinois. He is far from perfect, but he is the lesser of two evils. Speaking of which, I could not be more underwhelmed by our choices for Senate. Allexi Giannoulias, the youngest state treasurer in the country, has the noteworthy distinction of being a bank executive for his family's bank which had to get bailed out by the FDIC., and admits having some knowledge of his bank lending money to mob figures. I cannot in good conscious ask you to vote for Giannoulias, but I can ask you to vote against his adversary. His opponent, Mark Kirk, has had honesty issues with his military service record, claiming an award he did not receive and claiming to have served in combat. At least Kirk served in the military (unlike Giannoulias), but anyone who has ever served in the military takes a very dim view of anyone embellishing their military record by false claims of awards and combat service. This problem is more prevalent than one would think, and generally it is perpetrated by those trying to beef up their conservative bona fides. Why would one need to do that?

Mark Kirk actually portrays himself as an outsider. A bit hard to do given that he has been a member of Congress for almost ten years, and a former ally of George W. Bush's agenda that led in part to the financial collapse. Why would we think the party of no ideas, no solutions, no fiscal discipline, and nothing but a re-tread of the contract with America could bring us out of our recession and fiscal crisis?

Character issues aside (both candidates have serious problems with character), these candidates have thoughtful and intelligent, nuanced positions on the important issues, and have some commonalities. I will congratulate Kirk on not being a typical, modern day social conservative. He and Giannoulias are pro-choice, and support civil unions, but not gay marriage. Kirk's position on Israel is a bit too simplistic (status quo) and will not bode well for progress in peace negotiations. Giannoulias believes in a two-state solution which frankly has the only realistic chance for working as Israel's existence as a state cannot be questioned, but Islamic groups will not accept elimination of the Palestinian state. Platitudes will not solve this problem. Kirk's position is also overly simplistic on Afghanistan. His position is to continue the status quo of training local police, which is important, but ignores the fact acknowledged by Giannoulias that a military solution alone will not work, neither will endless commitment of troops. Giannoulias supports the scheduled withdrawal of troops in 2011.

Kirk is for lower taxes and against the Obama health care plan, but supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent. The cost of doing these tax cuts will grossly outweigh any fiscal benefit obtained by tort reform and other Kirk proposals, and is in effect nothing short of political pandering and perpetuating the fiscal policies that lead to the budgetary mess we are in already.

Kirk's immigration reform focuses entirely on boarder security. Although commendable as a goal, waiting to deal with those that are already here illegally is not an option. Giannoulias supports comprehensive immigration reform, which is not as popular (like his position supporting Obama's health care initiative), but it is the smarter strategy. Both candidates support gun ownership rights, but only Giannoulias addresses reasonable controls, such as assault weapons bans, keeping guns out of the hands of kids, and preventing felons from possessing guns.

Kirk does have some worthwhile proposals for energy tax credits to promote hybrids and other energy technologies, fast-tracking patent processing for small businesses, and creating a 10 year hiatus for capital gains for small business.

So as you enter the polling booth, put the clothespin on your nose, and pull the lever.

John J. Pawloski
Mr. Pawloski is a lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri and an an unapologetic liberal, progressive. He can be contacted on Facebook and his blog can be found at Tumblr.com.



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